Title: Brimstone Bound (Firebrand Book One)
Author: Helen Harper
Price: $14.99 (paperback) / $3.99 (ebook)
Emma Bellamy is only one short assignment away from being named the newest detective to the London Metropolitan Police Force. Unfortunately, that last assignment is with the Supernatural Squad — a meaningless department, since the supernatural species police their own and are largely confined to a few neighborhoods in London. But then her mentor disappears, and Emma herself is murdered. Left for dead, she awakens twelve hours later in a blazing fire. Determined to solve her own murder and locate her missing mentor, Emma teams up with a gun-ho pathologist, an irritating vampire lord, and the rest of Supernatural Squad … before her killer strikes again ….
Helen Harper is one of my favorite urban fantasy/paranormal romance authors, so I was excited to see that she had launched a new series (and her series, unlike so many others, tend to be a reasonable three or four volumes in length). So I grabbed a copy of Brimstone Bound and dove right in.
I really like Emma. She is driven, compassionate, and wants to spend her life helping people and bringing criminals to justice. She only knows the basics about supernatural beings (she’s not a groupie), but she believes that they deserve the same protections as humans. When put to the test, she proves herself to be clever and quick-thinking, too.
Even better, Harper takes her time with the romance. So-called insta-lust stories annoy me. I prefer it when characters are given the chance to get to know one another, discover each other’s strength and weaknesses, and really fall in love.
I like the world that Harper has created. It is virtually identical to our own, except for the existence of supernatural beings (werewolves, vampires, satyrs, pixies, and others). Most humans go about their normal lives, with only minimal contact with supernaturals; some humans seek them out, while others actively hate them. Although supernaturals might appear to be domesticated, the government understands their true power and threat, and seeks to keep them contained, through both legislation and accommodation (keep them mostly happily, and maybe they won’t go on a bloody rampage).
My only real complaint lies in the nature of the Big Reveal: the identity and motivations of Emma’s murderer. (No spoilers.) I saw it coming, and really really hoped that I was wrong. Unfortunately, I was not.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Brimstone Bound. The story kept me engaged, and I was rooting for Emma the whole way. I look forward to reading the next book, Infernal Enchantment, which released on 1 October 2020 (and finding out if my hunch as to her turn nature is correct).
Recommended to fans of Annette Marie, Lindsey Buroker, Hailey Turner, Gretchen Galway, and S.A. Magnusson.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer, and is a regular contributor to ev0ke.]